Mount Aconcagua

Location: 32° 39′ S Latitude, 70° 14′ W longitude.
Altitude: 6,962 m (22,841 ft)
First ascent: Mathias Zurbriggen, 1897

Mount Aconcagua, known as the ‘stone sentinel’, is the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,962 m (22,841 ft), and the world’s highest mountain outside Asia, located in the Andes, in the Argentine province of Mendoza and about 15km from the Chilean border. Mount Aconcagua has the honour of being the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres. The challenge posed by Mount Aconcagua is often underestimated by climbers, which has resulted in serious injuries and deaths.

The mountain is part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park and its local name is Cerro Aconcagua. It has a number of glaciers, of which the largest is the Ventisquero Horcones Inferior (about 10 km long) and there are two other large glacier systems: the Ventisquero de las Vacas Sur and Glaciar Este/Ventisquero Relinchos system at about 5 km long. The best known is the north-eastern or Polish Glacier, which is a common route of ascent to the summit for climbers. The effects of altitude can be severe (atmospheric pressure is 40% of sea-level at the summit), but supplemental oxygen is not required in climbing it. The mountain often has brutal weather with cruel winds, driving snow and severe white-out conditions creating a nightmare experience for climbers – five died on the mountain in 2009. The rate for successful ascents is only 30%.

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